GB women take team silver at World Championships to book Olympics spot

Great Britain claimed women’s team silver and a place at the 2024 Olympics in Paris after pushing reigning champions the United States all the way at the World Gymnastics Championships.

The British team of Jessica Gadirova, twin sister Jennifer, Ondine Achampong, Georgia Mae-Fenton and Alice Kinsella, which had qualified for the final in second place, delivered when it mattered most to earn a place on the podium in Liverpool.

However, despite being without Simone Biles or Sunisa Lee at the M&S Bank Arena, the American quintet of Jordan Chiles, Jade Carey, Shilese Jones, Leanne Wong, and Skye Blakely clinched a record-breaking sixth successive title by a little more than three points.

There was little margin for error as three gymnasts competed on each of the four pieces of equipment – beam, floor, vault, and uneven bars – with all three scores counting.

The USA and British teams were separated by just 0.434 of point at the top of the leaderboard following the first rotation after both opened up with the vault in which Achampong was GB’s best performer behind America’s Carey and Chiles.

America extended their lead to 2.100 after the second rotation, in which they and Great Britain tackled the uneven bars, with Canada and France making a move as Brazil and China somewhat surprisingly occupied the bottom two places.

Kinsella and America’s Blakely both fell from the beam as the two countries remained locked in a battle for top spot, with Japan having closed significantly heading into the final round of disciplines.

Britain’s Jennifer Gadirova (right) celebrates alongside Alice Kinsella while her sister Jessica Gadirova competes
Britain’s Jennifer Gadirova (right) celebrates alongside Alice Kinsella while her sister Jessica Gadirova competes (Peter Byrne/PA)

But, having seen her sister Jennifer and Kinsella produce near-faultless routines, Jessica Gadirova turned in the best performance of the night on the floor to score 14.266 and confirm second place as the British team finished on 163.363, with the USA racking up 166.564.

Japan’s medal hopes dissolved as Kokoro Fukasawa endured a nightmare, allowing the Canadians, who had qualified for the final in eighth and last place, to snatch bronze on a night when European champions Italy could only manage fifth, one place ahead of China.